Unique ePerspective

Sept. 30, 2005
Buffalo reader inquires about salary information in preparing for shift in practice setting.

Dear RDH eVillage:

My boss has a large practice and he wants to know what is the commission rate of pay for dental hygienists in the Buffalo, N.Y., area, as well as the daily and hourly rates of pay?

We want, of course, the most competitive rates. My area is a little behind the times in pay and that includes all benefits.

We are in the middle of merging of two practices. It has been kind of tough adapting. I have been practicing 10 years and I make $25 per hour, one week vacation, three personal days, and five holidays. Before my previous boss died, I was making $25 per hour, three weeks vacation, six holidays, grievance pay {three} days, jury duty (three days), and all of continuing education and medical paid for.

Please help me give my boss some ideas that will build the hygiene department so that the patient, hygienist, and doctor can benefit. We have two full-time hygienists and four part-time hygienists.

Thank you, Heather

Hi Heather:

Most commonly, the commission rate is about 33 percent. The industry standard is that the hygienist should produce three times his/her wages. Of course, the profitability of the practice is also to be considered. Some practices can afford to pay more, but it is for sure that a practice cannot pay what it does not take in. Use the data below and divide by the number of hours you worked last year to get an hourly rate.

According to my sources, here are the salary ranges for hygienists in the Buffalo area:

• 25th percentile is $61,002

• the median is $71,649

• the 75th percentile is $74,260

The total compensation (base + bonuses + benefits) is:

• Base salary, $71,649

• Bonuses, $0

• Social Security, $5,481

• 401k/403b, $2,594

• Disability, $1,748

• Healthcare, $5,390

• Pension, $2,321

• Time off, $7,826

Total, $97,009

It sounds like your office is going through some growing pains. So you might need to let things get settled down a bit before you approach the doctor about a raise.

However, you need to start now keeping track of all you produce, etc. This gives you hard data to work with and shows you how much you produce in relation to your current wages. Before you can make more money/benefits, you have to prove your worth to the doctor by taking a proactive role in the practice by working hard (producing), promoting the services offered there, and being a team player.

Warm regards,
Dianne Glasscoe, RDH, BS

Dianne D. Glasscoe, RDH, BS, is a professional speaker, writer, and consultant to dental practices across the United States. She is CEO of Professional Dental Management, based in Frederick, Md. To contact Glasscoe for speaking or consulting, call (301) 874-5240 or email [email protected]. Visit her Web site at www.professionaldentalmgmt.com.